Note: this page is based on IRB coaching material, my own experiences and feedback from other coaches.

In General

When you want to create a high performance rugby team you need to look at the team assets and individual strengths of players. Piecing together the optimum position for the players is one of the great teambuilding activities of the coach and his players.

I think a lot of rugby coaches underestimate the motivational power that will develop when you start working with the players and discussing where their competence's will benefit the team the most.

With these rugby players specific pages I hope to identify the main tasks that come along with the position. A great teambuilding activity would be to let the team match their individual skills with the positions.

Definition is one, to agree with these tasks is important, performing the tasks is the third thing. Doing all three with all the players in the team is an elementary step to a successful team !

Good luck in developing your team spirit!

General issues on the Second Row players

2nd row players need the size and genuine jumping ability to dominate, and not just compete in the line outs. Strength is required to power the props into the scrum and mobile to get quickly around the pitch.

Some are large and less mobile others are slimmer and more mobile with 'spring' to dominate the middle.

Every rugby player should develop his speed, for the second rowextra focus should be on the quick burst breaking through the defensive line: explosive steps, power and resistance runningagility. Look at my SAQ pages to improve your running technique.


Develop your ability to catch with either left or right hand or both. Get organised with codes, different moves and practise. Your job is to secure the throw and give the team and attacking opportunity.


Bind on the other lock around the body on the top of the shorts making it tight. Kneel on one knee and bind on your prop. On the "Crouch/engage" hit your prop in the opposition scrum.
This hit is very important, the whole front five should engage as one tight unit not as five individuals. Organise the scrum calls regarding pushing and wheeling.

I have set up a special page regarding the scrum.

Open play: offence

Primary task is securing the lunate ball and being the power-house in the scrum.

You will probably arrive later when an backrow move or a back play has been broken down. While you arrive you should make the right decision:

  • Drive: weight and bulk (as well as body position) should be maximised to drive through the opposition, and over the ball
  • Wheel if momentum is slowed
  • 'Decking' the ball to create a ruck for clean ball for the backs.
  • Or pick-up and go.


A good defender around the fringes and in cover, making the big hits.

Key issues

  • Aggression, go forward and a strong "will to succeed".

My favorite second row of the RWC 2011

Martin Johnson for his inspirational side or Ian Jones of NZ, for making the 2nd row position more than the big forward player........ My RWC 2011 favourites are Brad THorn and Sam Whitelock.

General issues

More on the functional role idea: